Ode to Bukowski
by Robert James Russell

I want so much to be like Chuck—
finding my salvation at the bottom of a bottle and
scoring leftover prescription pills from friends of friends—but
I fall short and can’t quite manage to recreate his gritty realism
and I wonder if it’s because I’ve
never had the struggles he did, the crippling
alcoholism, the bouts with depression
the whores at the ready their fingers painted brightly
the long walks and the mornings after, the
biting migraines chewing away at you slowly
the only salvation
the words creeping out of your pen
onto the motel stationary,
your thoughts
the only sanity you have left.

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